Weston keen to crack combination

4 years ago

The Melbourne Vixens boast some outstanding talent among its experienced names but the reigning premiers will start the ANZ Championship season with half of its squad aged 22 years or younger.

While that group includes Kate Moloney and Liz Watson, both starting seven players in the Vixens' 2014 premiership side, captain Bianca Chatfield is excited by the potential newcomers Alice Teague-Neeld, Emily Mannix and Chloe Watson can offer the team as they strive to go back-to-back in 2015.

But it's young defender Jo Weston who looks set to take the next step in her career and is already pressuring Chatfield and Geva Mentor for more court time – a situation the skipper welcomes.

"It's a great competitive environment to have in a team," Chatfield said.

"Geva and I try and guide Jo and the other defenders as much as we can but we also want to work with them, we want to see what they've got to offer because I think you've got to be very strategic in the ANZ Championship.

"You can't play the same line-up all the time against every team. You need to have that variety and other combinations being able to come on."

Weston was impressive during the recent ANZ Championship Pre-Season Summer Shootout and showed she can play at both goal keeper and goal defence.

At 188cm, she's already been earmarked for higher honors having been part of Australia's FAST5 campaign the past two seasons and was recently one of four up-and-coming defenders invited to the Australian Diamonds Netball World Cup training camp.

Weston, who recently turned 21, is eager to build on her a couple of appearances in 2014 but knows the Chatfield-Mentor combination will be tough to split up.

"You're always looking for opportunities to put what we do in training out on court," Weston said.

"I'm very fortunate to train with two best defenders in the league. Geva and Bianca both have a world of experience and such knowledge of the game and different strategies to implement against different teams.

"People underestimate what we learn at training and it's great to have the opportunity at pre-season, where we do play a number of games throughout weekend.

"You have to utilise the bench a bit more so it was good to get a run out on court."

Vixens coach Simone McKinnis stresses the importance of having 12 players ready at any stage to go on court.

"So if I do get a chance out on court this year, which I'm really hoping to, I'm hoping to just slip in and continue that consistency we've got going," Weston said.

"None of us would be here if we didn't want to put our best out on court, so we all put pressure on ourselves as well as having the expectations of the coaches and your fellow players.

"It was great to be involved (in the Diamonds camp) and great to build partnerships with people who aren't in my team or from my underage group. But then it was great to learn some specific skills that we can implement back into training."

Weston is eager to play a bigger role in the Vixens' 2015 quest to create ANZ Championship history by becoming the first back-to-back winners of the title.

"We're definitely very keen on going back-to-back," Weston said. "As I guess all previous title holders have been.

"But I really believe, and all of us believe, we've got the team, the staff and the right environment to become 2015 premiers - and we're willing to put in the hard work for it."

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